Lawyer-(And Writer) Bashing
As a 72-year-old criminal defense lawyer, I compliment Glenna Whitley (“Why We Love to Hate Lawyers, ” May). In the course of my long practice I have seen the transition from old-time professionalism to a practice permeated with greed and a disregard for those who place their trust in many lawyers. That this may also be a measure of our society is no excuse for the lawyer to abandon what should be his high calling. I regret to say that I doubt that the pattern described will be corrected by any bar association.
After being involved with product development for two major aerospace corporations for 12 years and being active in general aviation longer than that, I have seen just how bad the lawyers’ self-induced liability crisis has crippled creativity and productivity in this country. Perhaps if we quit electing lawyers to those public offices that permit them to protect their own kind, then maybe we, the general public, can start cleaning up their profession (because they certainly will not).
The writing is on the wall. To maintain our role as the world’s foremost economic power, we must first correct this country’s destructive legal system. And secondly, we must encourage our talented youth to pursue more productive professions, such as science and engineering (a la Japan and Europe). Ms. Whitley’s article will certainly help in achieving those goals.
R. MICHAEL LEE
Glenna Whitley’s fine article was interesting to me for several reasons, but she barely makes mention of the one, sole, solitary reason for the trouble in the legal profession.. There are too many lawyers!
You see, I am a dentist and many years ago we dentists did “it” to ourselves… We cranked out too many dentists! As a result, dentistry moved from a profession to a crowded vocation where some large clinics employ “selling dentists” who do no dentistry but are employed for their ability to “close the sale. ” By the early 1980s dentistry was in big trouble. Translated, that means lots of people getting lots of unnecessary dentistry. Dentists felt they had to survive.
However, just as I have always suspected, dentists are smarter than lawyers! Dental schools began to close, and those that remained open cut their class sizes. Things are much better now. New graduates can once again open a solo practice, and in another five or 10 years dentistry will be a 100 percent profession again.
On the other hand, law schools are not cutting class sizes, and new law schools are opening; so, the profession of reading the law has disintegrated to enduring jokes and ridicule.
I have said all this to emphasize once again: The legal profession’s trouble is strictly economics. If we had half the numbers, we would have twice the professionalism.
RICHARD L. BANOWSKY
Glenna Whitley’s article certainly does not live up to your previous standards. Her use of name-calling, exaggeration, and assumptions almost totally negates the article-on a subject that should be examined. Her personal, vitriolic “voice” quickly becomes the focus of the article instead of her intended subject.
I would nominate Ms. Whitley for the Kitty Kelley Award in Journalism, if there was one. There are plenty of bad, dishonest, or whatever one wants to call them, lawyers. The same goes for journalists, doctors-Lord, even ministers, priests, and rabbis. Most lawyers are not unscrupulous, crooked, or just plain bad. as Ms. Whitley’s article suggests. Most of us lawyers make a good living, after years of schooling, long hours of stressful but rewarding work, and lots of continuing legal education. Only a few lawyers get rich lawyering. As to lawyers not producing anything, by Ms. Whitley’s standard, neither do journalists, or for that matter, most of the rest of this service economy.
After being married to a lawyer for more than 20 years, I have seen and felt my husband’s untiring support toward a family who could not bring themselves to turn off a life-support system that breathed life into an otherwise dead son. There was never a thought of a “fee” for this, only the compassion of a loving parent.
I have seen this same man talk a client’s suicidal daughter into going back into the medical facility from which she had escaped. He would never consider this “a legal matter. ” His concern was for a frail and unsteady human being in need of strength and support.
There are chameleons in every profession, some perhaps subscribing to unprofessional tactics. But please keep in mind, there are many fine lawyers in Dallas who do not deserve this unfortunate critique.
Why do people hate lawyers? They don’t. An article in the May 5, 1991, Dallas Morning News found that when asked what career they wanted for their children, parents chose law more often than any other except medicine. Lawyer jokes are popular, and lawyer-bashing (particularly for political reasons) is popular, but that’s nothing new. Most of the current crop of jokes and complaints have been around for hundreds of years. Many of them are just recycled race jokes repeated by rednecks who can’t attack blacks and Mexican-Americans in public anymore. When it comes down to asking what people want for their daughters and sons, though, when people get serious, lawyers and the law still find respect and even admiration.
RICHARD M. HUNT
It’s too bad that Glenna Whitley did not have the integrity to write about the many honest lawyers and the many lawyers who take cases without pay. But then she might not have sold her article, and you might not have sold so many magazines. Of course, we lawyers should all know that money comes before integrity.
I guess I should raise my fees and fire the clients I’m representing for free or for reduced fees. I certainly don’t want to ruin my image or disappoint Ms. Whitley.
Thanks For “D. O. A. “
In his extremely well-researched article, “D. O. A. ” (May), Rod Davis did an exceptional job explaining the potential crisis faced by the citizens of the Dallas area if the incidence of trauma and the need for trauma facilities continue to grow at the current pace. Because trauma care is so poorly compensated, it creates a tremendous financial burden for hospital providers. We are fortunate to have Baylor and Methodist working along with Parkland to provide these life-saving services to our community.
ANN E. MARGOLIN
CHAIRMAN, BOARDOF MANAGERS
PARKLAND MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
I want to congratulate and thank Rod Davis for “D. O. A. ” He successfully grasped a very difficult issue and covered it from many aspects. We hope that those who can make a positive contribution to solve this problem will take the necessary action to do so.
ROBERT A. HILLE, F.A.C.H.E.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
I take issue with an assertion made by Erik Tarpley (“A Little Bit of Racism, ” May) and naively accepted by your magazine. Mr. Tarpley contends that labeling the “Mona Lisa” as “the most famous painting in the world” is inaccurate and should be changed to “in the Western world. ” This is wrong, In order for it to be true, there would have to be a painting produced outside of Western civilization that is more significant to a greater number of people. I would like someone to name that painting for me. Until someone can, referring to the “Mona Lisa” as “the most famous painting in the world” is accurate, whether or not there are a couple of billion people in the rest of the world who “could probably care less. “
Mr. Tarpley obviously is being taught by cultural reactionaries who, pathetically, are trying to pass off the denigration of Western culture as education. It is a great disservice to Mr. Tarpley and an insult to any thinking man or woman… of any cultural background.
CHARLES J. CORRIGAN
Lawyer-(And Writer) Bashing